Health Promoting Secondary Schools: Implementation of a Self-Determination Framework : Project 1: The Experiences and Motivation of Key Stakeholders in the Development and Implementation of a Choice-Based Whole-School Health Model ; Project 2: Effectiveness of a Choice-Based Whole-School Model to Increase Students’ Motivation Towards Physical Activity and Healthy Eating ; Project 3: Evaluation of a School-Based Intervention to Increase Students’ Motivation and Enrolment in High School Physical Education

Date

2014-11-05

Authors

Sulz, Lauren Denise

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Abstract

The purpose of this research was to implement and evaluate a whole-school health model (Health Promoting Secondary Schools [HPSS]), grounded in self-determination theory (SDT). The approach used a "For Youth with Youth" planning strategy designed to change school environments (culture, policy and practices) in order to help high school students become more physically active and eat more healthful diets. Three interrelated research projects were conducted to address the purpose of this study. A concurrent mixed-methods design was used to: (a) gain an understanding of the experiences of teachers and the Action Team as they planned and implemented school-based healthy living strategies (Project 1); (b) evaluate the impact on and relationship between SDT constructs and students’ motivation to engage in health-related behaviours (Project 2); and (c) evaluate the motivation of students in physical education classes grounded in SDT and its impact on their enrolment in grade 11 elective physical education (Project 3). In Project 1, 23 teachers and 37 Action Team members participated in focus group interviews. School observation field notes and Action Team meeting minutes were collected throughout the intervention process. Analysis of the data revealed that several factors were associated with participants’ experiences and motivational processes. These factors included: (a) Competing Responsibilities, Technical Difficulties, and Lack of Computer Access (b) Resources, Reminders, Workshops, and Collaboration (c) Choice-Based Design Impacts Participants’ Experiences; (d) Teacher Control Impacts Student Engagement (e) Teacher Job Action Inhibited Implementation of HPSS Action Plans. The findings from this study can facilitate future school-based projects by providing insights into student and teacher perspectives on the planning and implementation of a whole-school health model. In Project 2, 379 grade 10 students in ten participant schools (5 intervention schools; 5 control schools) completed self-report questionnaires pre and post intervention to evaluate the impact on students’ motivation to engage in health-related behaviours. Results showed students attending HPSS intervention schools reported significantly lower amotivation scores for healthy eating compared to students in usual practice schools. No significant differences were found between conditions on motivation towards physical activity. The findings indicate that a choice-based whole-school health approach may be an effective approach for decreasing amotivation towards healthy eating behaviours. In Project 3, a sample of 373 grade 10 students completed self-report questionnaires to assess their perceptions of autonomy, relatedness, and competence towards grade 10 Physical Education. Enrolment rates were collected from participant schools to determine the impact of the HPSS intervention on student enrolment in grade elective physical education. Multilevel analysis showed no significant differences between conditions post intervention on overall psychological need satisfaction or individual SDT constructs. For enrolment in elective physical education, chi-square analyses showed a significant difference in proportion of female students in HPSS intervention schools enrolled in grade 11 elective physical education. Findings show support for a whole-school health model to improve female student enrolment in elective physical education programs.

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Keywords

self-determination theory, physical activity, physical education, schools, whole-school approach, health promoting secondary schools

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